Comments made by Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on the need for young children to receive COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed as “misleading” by the UK’s pharmaceutical regulator.
Speaking to the BBC in December 2021, Bourla, who runs the Big Pharma giant responsible for one of the COVID-19 vaccines developed with BioNTech, claimed that “there is no doubt in [his] mind that the benefits, completely, are in favour of” giving the vaccine to children aged between five and 11.
He further argued that “covid in schools is thriving,” and said that such a spread of the disease was “disturbing, significantly, the education system,” even going so far as to say that there are “kids that will have severe symptoms.”
A complaint was swiftly lodged with the British pharmaceutical regulator, the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA), by UsForThem, a group created during the lockdowns to stand up for the rights of children.
“There is simply no evidence that healthy schoolchildren in the UK are at significant risk from the SARS COV-2 virus and to imply that they are is disgracefully misleading,” UsForThem said in the complaint, adding that the Pfizer CEO’s comments about the vaccine were “extremely promotional in nature.”
"Pfizer’s CEO rapped by regulator for making ‘misleading’ statements about children’s vaccines" @Telegraph
— UsForThemUK 🌟 (@UsforThemUK) November 26, 2022
Bourla’s comments were judged to have breached the code of practice by a panel set up by the PMCPA, who decided that not only had Bourla misled the public, but also made unsubstantiated claims that were not presented in a “factual and balanced way.”
Pfizer unsurprisingly appealed the findings, arguing that Bourla’s comments were drawn from “up-to-date scientific evidence,” and were backed up by the “publicly available independent benefit-risk assessments.”
The interview from Bourla, who caught COVID-19 in August this year, despite being quadruple-vaccinated, was conducted before the UK’s regulator had decided on the risk-benefit analysis of recommending the vaccine to children in the five to 11 age group.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation eventually recommended it in February this year, but said that the decision to do so should be left up to the parents.
In November, an appeal board held up the claims that the Pfizer CEO’s comments were misleading and unsubstantiated, but overturned more serious allegations, including that Pfizer had discredited the industry, and encouraged “irrational use of a medicine.” The full report is set to be published in later weeks, according to the PMCPA.
Pfizer CEO made “misleading statements” about child Covid vaccines.
How low can you sink? https://t.co/jqg65uUH5E
— Allison Pearson (@AllisonPearson) November 26, 2022
A Pfizer spokesman claimed that the company was “committed to the highest levels of integrity in any interaction with the public”:
“We are pleased the UK’s PMCPA Appeal Board found Pfizer to have maintained high standards and upheld confidence in our industry, the two most serious rulings in this complaint from a UK campaign group. In the UK, we have always endeavoured to follow the principles and letter of our industry Code of Practice throughout. We will review the case report in detail when we receive it, to inform future activity. Throughout the pandemic, our communications have been focused on providing clarity regarding the progress of our science and supporting transparent scientific exchange in the interests of public health.”
Richard Tice, the leader of the Reform Party, previously the Brexit Party, wrote on Twitter that “Pfizer’s board of directors must formally explain themselves, or just apologise” and “hang their heads in shame.”
“Why should people ever trust big Pharma when they behave like this,” Tice questioned.
Great work to you all @UsforThemUK
Pfizer’s board of directors must formally explain themselves, or just apologise, hang their heads in shame.
Why should people ever trust big Pharma when they behave like this. https://t.co/0JUyY36bGR
— Richard Tice 🇬🇧 (@TiceRichard) November 27, 2022
Valiant News reported in September that UsForThem, who brought the complaint against Pfizer, had been banned from PayPal, along with a number of other lockdown-sceptic and pro-free speech groups. Molly Kingsley, who founded the group, slammed the decision from PayPal as “chilling.”
This news and commentary by Jack Hadfield originally appeared on Valiant News.